I just glanced across my desk to catch today’s date in the corner of my eye, and holy moly, it’s the 21st of December already! But with the excitement of Christmas just a few days away, it’s not all turkey and present wrapping; it’s also a great time to reflect upon the last 12 months and to look ahead, plan for 2016 and deliver campaigns that achieve results for our clients.
So, that got me thinking, what does the year ahead have in store for the world of SEM? Thoughts mustered, mulled over and compiled, I’ve put together a list of SEM and content marketing predictions for 2016. Whilst a few of the ideas listed below have been clinging onto SEM prediction lists since first being mentioned back in 2014/15 [“next year will be the year of mobile”], as search engine marketing professionals, we always like to be prepared for what might lie ahead in the upcoming year. As with any predictions, be sure to remain open-minded and take them with a pinch of salt.
Live Streaming Platform
With live stream platforms sprouting to life from the dark recesses of the web like mushrooms in the past 12 months, 2016 will be increasingly about how brands are able to best utilise these new live streaming platforms to their benefit. Facebook mentions, Twitter’s live streaming app, Periscope, Blab and Meerkat are just some of the apps dominating the live streaming market at present. Although time consuming, the content generated from live streaming platforms can be repurposed across various social media channels.
Mobile Driven Digital Transformation
“Over 2 billion consumers are projected to have smartphones in 2016 and it is the #1 device to reach millennials”. With the full attention of the millennials in check, will 2016 be the year mobile drives a digital transformation? Only time will tell.
According to a new report from Milward Brown, people are spending more time watching videos than they are TV, so it’s no surprise to hear that video marketing is set to grow even more in 2016. For a video marketing campaign to be successful in such a competitive environment, digital marketers will have to think multi-screen as well as ways to create in-the-moment experiences for mobile. As such, we will see a rise in the amount of digital influencers and an increase in costs for those top influencers.
Google’s Deep App Indexation
“The average person only uses 26% of their apps daily, while one in four apps are never used at all” – Google. According to Google, “App Indexing lets Google index apps just like websites. Deep links to your Android app appear in Google Search results, letting users get to your native mobile experience quickly, landing exactly on the right content within your app.” In other words, app indexing puts your app in front of users using Google Search. With Google indexing both app landing pages and deep screens in apps, ranking on mobile search results pages will be faced with a myriad of competition. We’ll see growing competition for search visibility on mobile search engines in 2016.
Ad Blocking and Social Media Advertising
Are you wondering what the link is between the two? Well, one of our predictions for 2016 includes a rise in social media advertising to compensate for the visibility lost from adblocks. Adblock Plus, the most popular adblocker available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Android and Internet Explorer has so far amassed over 50 million users and with Apple announcing the iOS 9 version of Safari with a built-in adblocker, 2016 is the time get creative with advertising on social media platforms. Google has already released their own Google App on iOS in order to combat the Safari Ad Blocker that is being rolled out with their latest browsers.
Google Owned Sites
Try googling “flights to New York” and what do you see? The top three search results are sponsored ads followed by Google’s own site listings! This allows users to choose their flight from a simple list of results from Google’s own site. There has been lot of online discussion criticising Google for favouring its own sites on search results, however, they don’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping, so expect to see more of this in 2016.
Schema Mark ups
I’ve started to notice more and more of these answer boxes on search engine results pages this year. It looks like 2016 is the time to audit your website for those missed schema mark-up opportunities.
“Structured data markup” is a way to annotate your content on the website so search engines can understand it, helping search engines to index your content more effectively on search engine results pages. Adding structured data markup to your website also helps your content to appear in voice answers, maps and Google Now.
That concludes our list of predictions for 2016. Although this list isn’t exhaustive, we think we’ve pinpointed some serious contenders for the top SEO and content marketing predictions for 2016. Check back in January 2017 to see how our predictions held up.